The lockdown over the past few months has led to boredom – long swathes of time where some of us find we’re lacking a substantial activity to sink our teeth into. Video games are a perfect outlet for excitement that many have turned to in order to alleviate the monotony of life stuck inside the house. Here are just a few games that we and some contributors have got stuck into recently, and how they helped us fill our sudden excess of free time.
By Lewis Empson
Whenever I’ve been feeling bored and lost on what felt like the longest few months of my life, I’d find myself aimlessly cruising around the packed streets of Los Santos, blasting classic pop songs with my friends. Seeing the bustling city alive with crowded streets with the shops and bars open gave me a sense of normality and although bullets were flying and sirens were wailing as cops mercilessly hunted down bank robbers, it all felt oddly comforting to have this bubble of virtual normality to escape too.
GTA Online has been the perfect time waster, providing a wide variety of races, challenges and competitive modes alongside inticing weekly content refreshes including discounts on in-game items, double money and XP and plenty of free in-game currency. Rockstar has truly embraced the fact that players have been stuck indoors by offering the game for free on PC and giving away plenty of GTA$ for people to upgrade cars and weapons giving players plenty of things to do, as well as to prepare for the plethora of competitive and cooperative game modes. The social aspect of GTA Online has truly come into its own as my friends and I were still able to meet up, chat, head to nightclubs or explore the city; albeit virtually, but it still made the stifling seclusion of lockdown that little bit more bearable.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
By Megan Evans
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been an incredibly insightful distraction from the impending uncertainty of lockdown. A new world where you build resources, houses, friends and learn skills in order to gain money, animal friends and lead a satisfying alter life, which is fun to enjoy within your own company, or friends galore. It is your own vision of a virtual paradise. I have found having tasks in the game has kept me distracted, not only from the vast levels of customisation on offer, and the satisfying elements of completing collections in the museum, furnishing homes and completing tasks to earn the much valued Nook Miles.
It has been so satisfying to have a simple yet effective separate life which has allowed me some form of escapism from the stresses of day to day life such as deadlines, and living at home with family. The switch console itself has sparked my enjoyment and love for gaming again as Animal Crossing fulfills this role even at twenty years old, a connective franchise that you can always go back to and still love from the comfort of home.
By Catarina Vicente
Over this quarantine, I’ve played Roblox nearly every day.
Roblox is an online gaming platform where you can create or play games created by other users. I found it by chance, and I’ve played it almost every day since then. I’ll find a game I like, play it until I lose interest, then just as quickly find something else to play.
Its main appeal is its wide variety – players are encouraged to create their own games, and thus there’s a diverse array of games for every taste. The hidden gems I find always feel like a full experience by themselves, with complex stories and interesting gaming mechanics. The ability to talk to other players in real-life time also gives Roblox a sense of competitiveness, but mostly, community.
I’m not sure of its benefits – I have to admit I’ve been procrastinating more often because of it – but it has made me realize the importance of games that give the user greater choice in what they want to play, especially in lockdown days that seem monotonous. If you’ve got time, give it a try!
Assassin’s Creed Unity
By Marcus Yeatman-Crouch
Lockdown has provided me with a chance to sift through my considerable backlog of games, as well as pick up a few on sale I might never have played otherwise. The one that most surprised me over this period was definitely Assassin’s Creed Unity. I was one of many who read dozens of release day articles on how unfinished and buggy the game was. But, after suffering some Assassin’s Creed withdrawal and seeing it was only £10 on the PS Store, I decided to pick it up. Soon enough I was fully immersed in what 6 years on felt like a very well polished game, with all the stealthy, strategic elements of Assassin’s Creed I’d been missing since the franchise’s last two titles switched to more RPG-like gameplay.
It was refreshing and nostalgic to play a game that went back to the roots of one of my favourite franchises, and knowing that without lockdown I would likely have lacked the time or commitment to a 6 year old game makes the experience that bit sweeter. The escape provided by an immersive game like Unity really helped in the first month or so of lockdown when I was simultaneously striving to finish off assignments, and the free time I’ve found otherwise has convinced me to give older games a try instead of vying after the newest (and most expensive) new titles.